A group of us were discussing and dissecting and coming to grips with the saddest song we’ve heard. It was tough getting to the heart of the matter as what was sad then isn’t sad now.

One either stays in a relationship or moves on with memories of what was then, and what is now, or else hope to move on even when your heart and mind are in that same space in time and still with her.

You marry for a reason- love- and when that love is gone, you leave. Or do you really?

That incredible bond between love and hurt and passion and memories and music and songs are so intrinsically tangled up in blue that often they come rushing into your mind so damn hard that it overpowers you and brings you to your senses though the truth always hurts. So does a kick in the nuts…

As we talked about our very different ideas of what are the saddest songs, it showed just how much of a private musical diary lives with us- now and forever- and how, what started out as a harmless game played amongst friends, cut to the very core of who and what makes us happy, and that one person, we let not just slip away, but how we pushed the limits to a point where they had to leave.

For some of us, this is a combination of arrogance and false bravado mixed with insecurity and pushing the boundaries of someone’s patience and forgiveness until there’s no more to forgive.

Personally, listening to 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love”, one can understand the machismo denial of being in love, but trying to convince yourself that you’re not in love even though there’s a nestled stain that’s lying there.

A friend mentioned McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” as one of his “saddest love songs”. I didn’t get it. “Maybe I’m Amazed” was McCartney’s unabashed glory of love to his Lovely Linda as were both his first two solo albums.

There’s a thin line between what was then and what is now and wishing to get back to then when that train has left the station. And so, one might wallow in the past of what might have been- and stay there trying to get past that eighth or ninth step of making amends.

The problem here is that it could be a lifetime of making amends to the other side who will never accept it. As Don Henley sang, “Forgiveness, forgiveness, even though, even though, you don’t love me, anymore.” It kinda said it all.

Sorry, but constantly repenting and begging for forgiveness and then being constantly kicked in the teeth is one of the saddest “mind songs” there is though one doubts that this theme or subject has yet to been written.

Thinking of the songs you carry with you as scars of where you were and who you were tells you who and where you are now. And that picture can change every day.

Now and those around you today might often not come close to what Dylan sang on “I Threw It All Away.” That was what mattered- those mountains you once held in the palms of your hand and those rivers that ran through everyday. Today, you settle for “love” as comfort food, but very seldom is that one-time passion still there.

You marry once for all the right reasons, and there is where you stay despite the divorce papers. Perhaps it’s where you belong and wish to stay. It’s that irreplaceable comfort zone.

Sometimes, love songs can be the saddest songs as lost love is hard and often impossible to find. Hearing them again takes you on a journey to the past where you wanna stay, but then you wake up to the real world and go through that masquerade.

The original version of “Without You” by Badfinger’s Peter Ham and Tom Evans, both of whom were to end up deciding to leave this world in different ways way too soon, makes me cry- for the songwriting duo, for me and for the hopelessness of the song.

Harry Nilsson’s version, however, was cathartic heartbreak as was his interpretation of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talking.” What can be more sad and lonely and desperate as having “everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of my mind”?

Thinking of what is the saddest song or the saddest song is a very personal subject. One man’s “My Love” is another person’s “Caroline No” or “When A Man Loves A Woman” or “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” or “Love Hurts”.

At the end of the day and with melodies and lyrics going through your mind, you’re often left wondering, and how it’s time to cut the cords, and ask, Are we human, or are we Dancer? Singular.

Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd

  1. Scott Moyer says:

    You’ve compiled a great list of emotionally laced songs. Although many have struck me directly in the heart, Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter” literally killed me when it came out during a breakup I was going through. The impact and truths of that song hit me like no other I know and in such a deeply profound way.

    For years and even now, “Everybody’s Talkin’ “and “Without You” were powerfully emotional records for me mostly in a very nostalgic way. Meanwhile songs like The Allman Brothers’ (Tied to the) Whipping Post and Cross To Bear effected me in so many ways emotionally and expressively through the song medium…..mostly with their lyric content and musical arrangement and actual compassionate performances of the songs.

    Another song that hits quite hard on all levels is “I Want To Know What Love Is.” it seems that these songs come out and strike a powerful chord with all who are experiencing sadness, hurt or other poignant emotions and they serve to take us to a very private and fragile place of personal truth and severe reckoning of & with our own emotions and sensitivities.

    “At 17″ by Janice Ian was one of the saddest songs ever written…..not a favorite, but very sad as well as Paul Simon’s depressing “My Home Town.” Nothing but the dead and dying in My Home Town…..written during his split up in marriage.

    With that said, “I’ll Do my Crying In the Rain” written by Goffin & King as sung by The Everly Brothers floored me. And a complete heart stopper for me is the all time great song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” sung by Teddy Pendergrass. ….as well as the fine country ballad “You Don’t Know Me” and the BeeGee’s songs

    There are so many more songs that deeply touch the heart….they go on forever……the first song that made me cry was Old Shep in 1956 which Elvis sang about his dog. To me it was very touching. Did I mention “Love Me Tender??”

    Then, Paul Anka came out with some nostalgic tunes like:” Put Your Head On my Shoulder,” “Lonely Boy,” ” You Are My Destiny ” and “My Home Town” which all touched me deeply and which were also on a juke box out in Repulse Bay where I used to live. I would go down to the beach to a building there and play these tunes over and over and would be placed in a melancholy emotional state as a result….very nostalgic for me somehow….taking me back to my early childhood or some past life experience of sorts…who knows…but all powerfully emotional songs for me as a teenager.

    Some of the more moving ballads I have sung include : “Let It Be Me” & “Don’t Blame Me” by the Everly Brothers and “At This Moment” by Billy Vera. These are total tear jerkers when done properly & sung in a fully committed fashion. I have had women rush to the stage and acknowledge me when I was in “the zone” singing these tunes….I could see that they were quite touched by the strength and delivery of the words and melodies. This is the power of a great song as written by the great songwriters.

    Country singer/songwriter, Rodney Crowell, has written several if not many songs that are killer Ballads such as “Until I Gain Control.”which is very moving and “After All This Time,” ” What Kind Of Love,” & “Many A Long and Lonesome Highway.

    In closing,…you can’t leave out “Fountain of Sorrow” by Jackson Browne. This one is a powerful message with a very focused emotional intention and full musical and vocal impact.

    As mentioned, there are tons of other emotionally moving songs over the years by so many artists…..Even songs like “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” and “How Can I be Sure” by the Rascals are both touching songs done with their own brand and delivery.

    if you have some others, please post them.it’s fun to share quality songs of this sort.

    Yours in song….Scott Moyer.

  2. Justin says:

    Maybe not *the saddest song*, but as far as emotionally moving goes – Dire Straits – “Brothers In Arms” gets me every time… Maybe it’s just pitched to me? But I’m forever bound to that song in some strong and strange way…

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